Tag Archives: Delaware Valley Miata Club

Mazda MX-5 Miata: Pennsylvania Road Trip Yuengling Brewery Visit + PA Dutch Foodie Tour

Every time I’ve taken a trip down i78 through Pennsylvania whether my last road trip to Florida or the trips to Alabama and Virginia before it, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool to organize a Yuengling Brewery Tour Miata Cruise?” Yes! Yes, it would… Today we made it happen.  My buddy Bill and I headed out first thing in the morning, on this freezing cold day where my whole car was covered in frost. But the weather warmed up, and we had a blast.

I wanted to invite as many Miata people as would come, but realizing that this is potentially a “Drinking & Driving” event, I didn’t want to open the door for any irresponsible behavior. So neither Bill nor I really drink alcohol, it was reasonable to have a small sampling of beer paired with fine Pennsylvania Dutch food before and after the brewery visit.

First stop was Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, PA off of I81 for some Gingerbread Hotcakes… Mmmm yummm!

It was soooo delicious! Now we were ready for the tour. I’ve done the Yuengling Brewery visit before a couple of years ago, and since then there’s been some changes. For one, the building across the street has been turned into the Gift Shop and the starting point of the tour. It’s the old Yuengling Ice Cream building, which looks really neat. But the actual brewery place rocks. Very educational experience and I enjoyed it very much. Could really appreciate how such a small operation can have such a big reach along the Eastern Seaboard.

Of course the sampling of beer on tap was outstanding.

I asked for the medicinal option since I am once again fighting the flu. Not sure if it worked, but it was delicious.

My favorite experience was the photo op with the Miatas.

After this sobering photo shoot in the freezing cold, it was time to warm up driving some twisty roads to Hawk Mountain and checking out the bird sanctuary there…

From there we were hungry enough for the final stop of the day: lunch at Deitsch Eck – Dutch Corner in Lenhartsville, PA

Not sure what part of the day was my favorite… everything we did had it’s awesome highlights! We actually planned on doing much more but unfortunately ran out of day light. Next time perhaps we’ll incorporate a visit to the Pocono’s on this trip, checking out Jim Thorpe Twp called the Switzerland of the US, or maybe checking out Amish country and sampling some of their delicious hoke-cooked food. Not sure but I definitely want to do this trip again! Summer time would be ideal, but Fall Foliage season would be even better.

Stay tuned…

Thanks to Bill for this awesome Pennsylvania Road Trip…

Mazda MX-5: Monmouth Cruise – Tinton Falls to Atlantic Highlands

I love when Miata owners get together for a meet and cruise. This latest one organized by the Delaware Valley Miata Club took place on Wednesday, meeting up at Wawa in Tinton Falls and following a twisty route down the Jersey Shore to the Atlantic Highlands.

I had spend a good part of my day prepping for this trip while running some errands, but ultimately I left Northern New Jersey late meaning I had to rush to get to this event which during the 5pm rush hour the GPS suggested would take a little over an hour. Luckily I missed most of the traffic, but that was thanks to some maneuvering, taking the GSP to i80 to the NJ Turnpike, back to GSP and then local roads to the Wawa.

The turn out was quite good. I think I counted over a dozen cars. I suspect most were already members of the Delaware Valley Miata club because when I showed up a few people sort of guilted me into joining. One person suggested that it’s not fair to everybody else that paid their membership fee and I’m the one freeloading on their cruise… Hmmm… more about that later.

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I’m glad I arrived when I did because shortly after the group settled up and headed out for the cruise. If I had hit any traffic I would have been shit outta luck on this one.

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But I made it, so I got in line to follow the convoy through Central Jersey towards the Jersey Shore. I got some great Dash Cam footage of the cruise, although I discovered that the velcro that the dash cam is attached to is making the camera loose, which resulted in some bouncy video especially when roads were rough. I also had noticed a metallic ticking noise coming from the right front tire, shortly after we had pulled over on the side of the road to wait for the tail end of the convoy to catch up after getting stuck on a red light. I wasn’t happy hearing that noise because it sounded like I caught a nail. At one point I pulled over to take a look, felt around the tire and didn’t notice anything obvious. A short distance later the noise stopped so I assume it wasn’t a nail but a small rock that had lodged itself into the groove of tread on the tire, and was making a ruckus while I drove. But I’ll have to check tomorrow to make sure there isn’t a puncture.

Our first stop was Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook with an amazing view of the New York City skyline at sunset, and Sandy Hook below.

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From there many of us headed out down to the waterfront, with a planned dinner at a restaurant in the Marina. But it wasn’t meant to be. The wait line was well over an hour and it would have been quite late for most people on a Wednesday night to stick around. At this point a few people left while about six of us picked a plan B and headed to Applebee’s in Middletown, NJ for a bite to eat.

As always I really enjoyed the company of the Del Val Miata club. The members are good people, mature, there’s no burnouts or people getting pulled over at their cruises, everything is organized nicely. But I must have been naive to think that this was a public event. During my very first interaction I was told I’d have to either join the club to continue coming to their events or stop taking potential spots away from club members by attending. I was on the fence before about joining the club. I am not a big fan of the idea of club membership for a number of reasons, many are similar to those I’ve shared on this blog a million times about my SCCA membership. But when it comes to a car club, I think after this experience I’ve made up my mind not to join. So there probably won’t be any more Del Val Miata Meets or Cruises in my future. Why was I naive? Well, I had honestly thought people organize these events for the fun of it, I mean that’s the reason I attend. I certainly don’t agree with the idea of taking anything away from other club members by being there. Its not like there was food provided by the club, or some sort of raffle or prize give away. I didn’t take anything FREE of charge from the club. I was there for the company of other Miata owners. Would I pay just to hang out with people like that? No, I wouldn’t.

The highlight of the event for me was seeing all the cars. There were both the Copper Red and True Red cars, Stormy Blue and Winning Blue, a bunch of darker color NC’s, a few NB’s and a beautiful NA. That was awesome!

Intermittent Wiper Switch install on another MX-5 Miata

I’m really pleased with the local Miata community. I’ve been on a lookout for an intermittent windshield wiper switch for my car for a little while, had been sending best offers through eBay time and again, and received nothing but rejection or high counter offers. And then BAM! One day both of my $30 best offers were accepted. One I went to pick up locally in Linden, NJ and mounted on my car for the road trip to Watkins Glen last weekend while the other was shipped from Texas. I reached out to a Delaware Valley Miata Club member through facebook to see if he knew of anyone interested and before I know it another member of the club was on his way to pick it up. I went ahead and installed the switch for him to make sure it works.

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I also took the opportunity to compare the NC3 Miata with my NC1. Call me crazy but visually the NC1 looks more slender than the NC3.

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But even though this 2013 model in beautiful Black Mica was a good 6 years younger than mine, it’s nice to see that little was changed. Jerry, the owner also had some comfort mods installed like the Cool Breeze vent mounted top/center of his windshield, and a nice elbow rest on the driver side door.

delaware valley miata club cruise sandy hookThe last time I saw Jerry’s car was on our Sandy Hook Cruise a few weeks ago… and hopefully the next time we meet up will be on another Miata cruise somewhere. Read more about our Cheesequake to Sandy Hook Cruise here.

Mazda MX-5: Miata Meet & Cruise Cheesequake to Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook

What a great day for a car show! What a great day for a cruise… Started bright and early this morning, setting my alarm clock to 7am to wash the car from all the damn pollen in the air.

mazda miata mx-5 car wash

And then hit the road for the Jersey Shore. The New Jersey Miata’s facebook club organized a nice little get together at the Cheesequake Service Area on the Garden State Parkway where I saw more MX-5’s then I have ever seen in my life. Mostly NA’s and NB’s but there were certainly plenty of NC’s too that eventually went back on the road bound for Sandy Hook.

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The funny bit on the cruise we blew past the exit that leads to the Highlands. The leader of the pack that we were following had some spirited driving in mind along the twisty roads of Central Jersey, but I don’t think he expected so many cars to follow him. But it was nice to see a convoy of Miata’s snaking along the neighborhood.

We made a scenic stop at the Navesink Twin Lights which was great because on a clear day like today NYC and the rest of Long Island was clearly visible in the distance. And then proceeded down to Fort Hancock at the tip of Sandy Hook for a few photos.

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The good thing was there were Miata’s everywhere. Everybody was driving at their own leisure, people were coming and going. The crowd was acting smart and mature and there weren’t anybody getting in trouble for doing silly things…

From Sandy Hook we went down route 36 to Long Branch for lunch, convoying with the Delaware Valley Miata Club to Max’s Hot Dogs. On the way I hear a bit of a ticking sound bouncing off the curbing, and sure enough as we parked our cars I noticed a screw sticking out of my left front tire… great! Luckily it wasn’t deep enough to actually puncture the tire so I got to drive home for the next hour and a half without too much of an issue. (There was traffic, that wasn’t cool) I’m really thankful for the good folks at Del Val Miata Club for being quick to offer a helping hand, including pliers and a tire repair kit ready to fix it as there were probably no gas stations able to do this job on a Sunday afternoon. The car wasn’t pulling in any direction, and when I checked the pressure upon arrival it was normal, so luckily I didn’t get a flat! Phew….

Special thanks to TF$ Motorsports for organizing the event and providing all the attendees with these cool stickers:

new jersey miata meet cheesequake TF$ motorsport

A blow dryer… how appropriate!

Of all the photos I saw from the event posted on facebook, this is the only shot that actually has my car in it, and a nice panoramic view:

new jersey miata meet panorama cheesequake
photo courtesy of: Joel Naftelberg

Moss Miata donated some giveaways for which the organizers of the meet held a raffle. My buddy with the silver NC PRHT won a set of Roadster rubber pedal covers. Nice touch, thanks Moss Miata!

All in all excellent event, that I’m really glad I took the time off work to come out and have some fun. IT was the first time I had the convertible out on the highway with the top down… and there were three other cars just like mine (PRHT) with the top down doing a convoy… everybody passing us by was checking the cars out, and quite a few were taking pictures or videos of the cars. Glad to see that, for sure.

Mazda MX-5: Oil Change, Wheel Swap, Miata Meet

Today was a good day to work on the car. So for the first time in my life I went ahead and changed the oil in a car: my Miata. As with anything else that I’ve done to this car so far,  it took unnecessarily long. What seemed like hours. But everything was done right.

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I followed the recommendations from Miata.net and acquired some Mobil 1 0W-20 fully synthetic oil… yes the oil cap on the engine says 5W-20 and no – that’s not what I went with. I got what most people agree is the best option for the car. And I used a Mobil 1 M1-102 oil filter too, because… why not?

The funny story behind the oil is that I got it dirt cheap from a local parts store. How cheap?

mobil 1 price mistake

$5 dollar cheap… that’s a hefty discount considering Wal Mart sells the jug for $36 dollars. I randomly stumbled upon this deal and couldn’t believe my eyes. Was totally convinced it was a price mistake, asked the clerk if they would honor an obvious price mistake, but the item scanned at $5 bux. So I bought two jugs. Now I know it says 0W-30 and posting this picture on the forums resulted in comments that people would gladly use it for that price. But after about a month from the purchase I went back to the store and they happily exchanged my two jugs for the correct oil. So all was good. I bought the oil filters on Amazon for $10 bux each, or double what I paid for the oil, how ironic?

I took the opportunity while doing the oil change to thoroughly clean everything under the car including the oil pan protection plate which was covered in grime. I also noticed that a few plastic clips were missing in the shroud that surrounds the front wheels so I popped some new ones in place. Car fired up and purred like a kitten after the oil change. Drove nicely. Although when sitting at a red light the engine RPM’s drop a lot and I wonder if it’s normal.

I also took the opportunity to try out my newly purchased 16″ OEM wheels. I noticed that on the road trip I scuffed the front 17″ OEM wheels up a little so it was time to try something softer and smoother for our pot-hole infested roads. And boy did they make a difference. Granted the feeling is identical with larger pot holes, but the general crap you encounter on the main highways like the New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway is manageable. And the difference is obvious. I am liking the softer ride. I really don’t think I understand how people lower their cars and get fancy big wheels with low profile tires. It must be solely for the looks. They must not drive their car much. Or they must really like doing wheel alignment from hitting pot holes so hard their teeth chatter with a stiff suspension.

miata wheels

I am a big fan of the 5 spoke wheels, though the 10 spoke ones will go back on the car in the summer time when roads are better.

The fella I purchased the wheels from invited me to a Miata Meet his club was organizing. So as soon as I finished tinkering with the car and took a quick shower, I hit the road for Central Jersey. This month the Delaware Valley Miata Club was meeting in Freehold, NJ at Jersey Freeze burger and ice cream shop. They do this sort of thing monthly, and the mid-week afternoon event totally works for me since I can’t get off from work on the weekends. There were about twelve (12) Miatas present of which 1 NA, 3 NB’s, 4 NC1’s, 3 NC2’s and 1 NC3. It was very cool to see other Miata owners from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, especially the guy with another Copper Red Mica. I was eager to compare the rear bumpers to see if the shades are off like they are on mine. But by the time I noticed his car it was too dark outside for a good comparison. Still a nice feeling to see another similar Miata so close.

del val miata club meet freehold nj

Great crowd and very good food too.

miata meet with delaware valley mazda club

So all in all what  a beautiful day! I got to change my own oil. Change the wheels. See how the car feels with the new oil and the new wheels on a 140 mile road trip. And meet a dozen other Mazda Miata owners in New Jersey over a delicious dinner. Looking forward to more of this in the summer time!

Note to self: oil change done at 32,295 miles… when should the next one be? 5,000 miles? 10,000 miles?